South Carolina Football: Steve Spurrier's Getting Better, Not Older

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South Carolina Football: Steve Spurrier's Getting Better, Not Older
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COLUMBIA, S.C. - Steve Spurrier was moving side to side, microphone in hand, working the crowd at Colonial Life Arena like a rock star.

Come to think of it, at age 68, Spurrier is approximately two years younger than Mick Jagger, and while Jagger may have an edge in lateral quickness, you'd have to believe Spurrier would take him at anything over 40 yards.

It's halftime of South Carolina's Jan. 18 home basketball game with Ole Miss, but more importantly, Spurrier's football team is being honored as part of the Gamecocks' biggest recruiting weekend of the year.

Spurrier pumps the crowd into a frenzy by reciting the Gamecocks' recent accomplishments: three consecutive 11-2 seasons, three consecutive bowl victories, this year's final national ranking of fourth, which is the best in school history, and, of course, five consecutive victories over rival Clemson.

The crowd loves it. The blue-chip recruits love it.

Damian Prince is a 5-star offensive lineman from Maryland and was one of the visiting recruits.

"Coach Spurrier, he's a real cool dude," Prince told Wes Mitchell of 247Sports (subscription required) in a followup interview about his visit. "In my mind, I kind of had this idea about him because he was old, but he was really cool, and he was still entertaining and stuff. He was still energetic." 

Steve Spurrier is on top of his game. He's not getting older. He's getting better.

His adaptability to changing times on and off the field is evident.

Unable to recruit the same level of skill position talent that fueled his "Fun N Gun" offenses at Florida, Spurrier has adopted a completely different style with the Gamecocks, relying heavily on the running game, the zone read and solid defense to win games.

True, he hasn't matched the success he had at Florida, where the Gators reeled off six SEC championships and a national championship during his 12-year run.

However, after nine years at South Carolina, Spurrier has won more games than any coach in South Carolina history, and he shows no signs of slowing down.

If anything, Spurrier's got his foot on the gas pedal, and the Gamecocks' best days may yet be in front of them.

"When I was 45, I couldn't see myself coaching into my 60's," Spurrier said. "I'm not trying to brag about being a workout guy, but that's what I do. I've got to believe everything I read in the health magazines that those people who work out regularly and routinely have a chance to live healthier lives. That's sort of what I do, and I encourage everybody else to do it."

Whenever he's asked how much longer he'll coach, Spurrier always says, "four to five years."

He recently signed a contract extension that could keep him at South Carolina through 2018. 

"I didn't plan to still be coaching right now," he said. "It has been going pretty well, and I can remember everybody's name, and I can still call the plays. Why stop?"

Why, indeed.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes were obtained first hand.

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